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'Treasure Island: The Musical'

Oregon Conservatory of Performing Arts is serving up a trio of plays featuring young actors from around the Rogue Valley. This is the organization's ninth summer of "Magic of Summer" theater camps for young actors ages 6 to 19.

Last week the group staged Shakespeare's "As You Like It." Directed by Oregon Stage Festival's Tyrone Wilson, the play featured 13 young performers ages 12 to 19. This was Wilson's sixth year of teaching for OCPA.

Up next is "Treasure Island: The Musical," an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island" by Mary Donnelly and George L.O. Stride. The two casts of 40 younger actors ages 6 to 12 have been working on the show in their theater camp since June 29. The performances will be at 3 and 5 p.m. Friday, July 17; and at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, July 18, at St. Mary's Little Theater, 816 Black Oak Dr., Medford.

"This is just a fun-filled time for the kids," said OCPA co-founder and artistic director Jeff Tabler. "Playing Long John Silver and all those characters and looking for that wonderful treasure while being hounded by pirates."

Andrew Brock returns as the director and acting instructor, with Marcia Katzmar as the musical director. Brock teaches music and conducts chorus at Talent Elementary School and is an adjunct professor of music at Southern Oregon University. He has a master's degree in voice and music education from the University of Oregon.

Katzmar has taught singing in public and private schools for more than 25 years. She holds a master's degree in music education and has worked in many shows involving youth. She joined the OCPA teaching staff in the summer of 2001 and has served as the musical director for OCPA's productions of "The Wizard of Oz," "Godspell," "Charlotte's Web" and "Tom Sawyer: The Musical."

"Little kids 6-years-old learning how to dance and sing is definitely cute," Tabler said. "Some of these kids have been with us for two or more years."

The final camp of the summer for those 11 to 19 will run from July 13 to Aug. 14. At the conclusion of the camp, the young actors will present the Lionel Bart musical "Oliver!" at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, at the Crater Performing Arts Center, 655 N. Third St., Central Point.

Those attending the "Oliver!" camp will learn from directors and choreographers David and Elyse Roxander. Musical director for the "Oliver!" camp and show will be Andrew Brock.

All OCPA camps offer the opportunity to experience an educational program involving knowledge of the arts and participation in them. OCPA teaches the process of theater, helping young people develop self-esteem and communication skills through creativity and teamwork.

OCPA describes itself as the largest and longest-running year-round educational theater program for youth in the Rogue Valley. It got its start in 1997, when two local high school teachers felt there was a need to offer children's theater experiences beyond what was found in the public schools, where arts education has suffered as budgets shrink.

After-school and Saturday classes began in 1998. Three years later saw the launch of the "Magic of Theatre" summer camps.

See oregonconservatory.org or call776-9118.

'Treasure Island: The Musical'